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Latest Life Sciences News

Our ancestor’s ‘leaky’ membrane answers big questions in biology

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Bain des Japonais Spring

All life on Earth came from one common ancestor – a single-celled organism – but what it looked like, how it lived and how it evolved into today’s modern cells is a four billion year old mystery being solved by researchers at UCL using mathematical modelling.

National Student Survey: improvement in student satisfaction

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Students at UCL

Student satisfaction at UCL has risen by 2%, according to the latest National Student Survey (NSS) results.

Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles

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Tiger Swallowtail

Invertebrate numbers have decreased by 45% on average over a 35 year period in which the human population doubled, reports a study on the impact of humans on declining animal numbers. 

'World's slowest Doppler effect' found in embryo development

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Long-term time-lapse microscopy has elicited surprise findings about the rhythm of body segment formation during embryo development.

Galton archive now online

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Galton archive now online

UCL Special Collections, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, have announced the launch of a digitised archive of papers by the Victorian scientist, Sir Francis Galton.

Same genes drive maths and reading ability

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Students working

Around half of the genes that influence how well a child can read also play a role in their mathematics ability, say scientists from UCL, the University of Oxford and King’s College London who led a study into the genetic basis of cognitive traits.

Blocking cells’ movement to stop the spread of cancer

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Migrating embryonic neural crest cells

Insights into how cells move through the body could lead to innovative techniques to stop cancer cells from spreading and causing secondary tumours, according to new UCL research.

Limb regeneration: do salamanders hold the key?

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The secret of how salamanders successfully regrow body parts is being unravelled by UCL researchers in a bid to apply it to humans.

Queen’s Birthday Honours for the UCL community

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David Fish

A number of people from the UCL community have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

New Dean for UCL Faculty of Life Sciences

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Geraint Rees, Director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience has been appointed to the next Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, with effect from 1 September 2014.

Professor Christine Orengo elected member of EMBO

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Professor Orengo (UCL Division of Biosciences) was one of 106 “outstanding researchers in the life sciences” that were elected to be European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) members in 2014.

UCL professor wins Kavli Prize in Neuroscience

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Professor John O'Keefe

The 2014 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience was today awarded to Professor John O’Keefe, Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at UCL and affiliated faculty member in the UCL Research Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.

UCL commits to openness about animal research

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A research animal at UCL

UCL formally committed today to a policy of openness about animal research when Professor Michael Arthur (UCL President & Provost) signed the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK.

Professor Claudio Stern elected as Foreign Honorary Member of (USA) (AAAS)

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Professor Claudio Stern from the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology in UCL Division of Biosciences has been elected as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (USA) (AAAS). He is one of 16 Foreign Honorary Members, from a total of 204 newly elected candidates for 2014. He is in the category of Cellular and Developmental Biology, Microbiology, and Immunology (including Genetics).

Should we listen to our genes, or does mother know best?

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Mum and baby

Breaking the mould of inherited family characteristics could help you survive in a fast-changing world, scientists have discovered.

UCL researchers set to take their research to parliament

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SET for Britain group

Sixteen researchers from around UCL have been shortlisted to present their research to a panel of expert judges and over 100 MPs in this year’s SET for Britain competition.

Natural selection has altered the appearance of Europeans over the past 5,000 years

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Yamnaya Skeleton

Ancient DNA from archaeological skeletons shows that Europeans had darker skin, hair, and eye pigmentation 5,000 years ago.

Spread of antibiotic resistance understood by unravelling bacterial secretion system

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Bacterial type IV secretion system

The system that allows the sharing of genetic material between bacteria – and therefore the spread of antibiotic resistance – has been uncovered by a team of scientists from UCL and Birkbeck, University of London.

Climate change causes high, but predictable, extinction risks 

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Ornate box turtle

Judging the effects of climate change on extinction may be easier than previously thought, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Interactive map of human genetic history revealed

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Genetic Atlas

A global map detailing the genetic histories of 95 different populations across the world, showing likely genetic impacts of European colonialism, the Arab slave trade, the Mongol Empire and European traders near the Silk Road mixing with people in China, has been revealed for the first time.

Mathematical beauty activates same brain region as great art or music

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Beautiful formula

People who appreciate the beauty of mathematics activate the same part of their brain when they look at aesthetically pleasing formula as others do when appreciating art or music, suggesting that there is a neurobiological basis to beauty.

Brain asymmetry improves processing of sensory information

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Fish that have symmetric brains show defects in processing information about sights and smells, according to the results of a new study into how asymmetry in the brain affects processing of sensory information.

Cancer death rates could be halved by 2030 with effective treatment

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UK cancer death rates are likely to fall more rapidly between now and 2030 than they have done in the previous 20 years, according to research presented today by the UCL School of Pharmacy.

Novel Genetic mutations discovered that cause neuro-muscular disease in children

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UCL Institute of Child Health

Mutations in a gene causing mixed neurological and muscular disease in children have been found for the first time.

New project explores using algae to produce speciality oils

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Microalgae 'hanging bags'

A new UCL project is developing the idea that microalgae could provide more sustainable production of a wide range of useful oils – from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to lubricants to next-generation biofuels.

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